£60m Lost in Worst Ever Cheltenham Festival 2016
The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest horse racing events that takes place every year in England, with prize-money that’s second only to the Grand National. Millions of people take to the stands for the 5-day event to watch the jockeys try to ride their horses to victory, but 2016 saw this much-loved racing event hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Hit the headlines
Cast your mind back to March 2016, Cheltenham Festival was taking place and the bookies were rubbing their hands at the thought of all those bets being placed, but by the 18th March 2016, Ladbrokes were wishing that the event had never taken place. This event has been taking place annually since 1860, but 2016 was a year that was going to go down in the history books as Ladbrokes was hit by the biggest loss in living memory – a whopping £60m, thanks to nine favourites and one joint favourite winning in the 28 races (over 4 days). This had a knock-on effect with William Hill as former Barclays banker, Rich Ricci (racehorse owner) pocketed nay on £400,000 – thanks to 3 of his horses crossing the finishing line before the competition.
Lost for words
Jim Mullen, Ladbrokes Chief executive had said that the sporting results were very favourable up until the Cheltenham Festival, but the festival “proved to be the worst in living memory, which took some of the shine off the period. Experience tells us to expect results to normalise over time.” Competition between rival bookmakers has heightened recently as they fight to offer the best odds to their customers – this has led to them offering insane offers and pricing with abandoned principles.
To attract the punters, Ladbrokes offered money back on the first races and many other bookies offered best price on every race. Jim Mullen was also quoted as saying “while bookmakers were in the gambling industry, they should not gamble themselves.”
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